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Law New York – Access to Government Records and Statistics

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The public’s right to review the process of governmental decision-making, and to examine the records and statistics leading to such determinations, is fundamental to our society. It should not be thwarted by shrouding it in secrecy or confidentiality. The legislature therefore declares that it is the people’s business to know what their government is doing, and that information relating thereto should not be kept secret from the citizens.

Article 6

A legislative body may establish guidelines regarding the deletion of identifying details or withholding from access to records otherwise available under this article in order to prevent unwarranted invasions of personal privacy, and such guidelines shall be published in the official state journal and made available for public inspection upon request. Such guidelines must be based on a reasonable balance of the public’s right to know and the legitimate interests of individuals whose privacy is protected by this section. The committee on open government shall periodically review these guidelines and recommend any changes to the legislature.

Article 7

The legislature may require an agency to segregate available records into categories, and where feasible design its information retrieval systems to make that possible, so that the public can easily retrieve those records for which it has a reasonable need. The agency shall also make available to the public a summary of each category of record, and an explanation of its criteria for making such a summary. This summary and explanation must be included with the record upon release for public inspection.

Article 9

The law library shall provide access to the statutes, case law, administrative rules, and other legal materials of the executive branch and all judicial departments of the state for the purposes of research and study, and shall make them available for consultation and use by the public at no charge. The library shall also provide access to the official state publications, including a collection of bills and laws, through its electronic retrieval system.